Nuremberg: Johann Petrus, 1549. Quarto. (20)ff. First edition. The book opens with a wood-engraved title and is illustrated with a folding plate of a calligraphic alphabet, as well as numerous calligraphic illustrations in the text. This is the first edition of the first comprehensive textbook for the art of calligraphy. It was developed in Germany during the time of Durer. Johann Neudörffer (1497-1563), the elder, was a great Nuremberg writing master. He was the founder of German calligraphy and considered the most important and most influential German calligrapher of his time. Neudörffer originally wrote the Gestprechbuchlein for his son and namesake, but his brother-in-law, the printer Johann Pertrus, explains in his preface that he persuaded Neudörffer to let it be published. The text is in the form of seven dialogues between the master, Neudörffer, and his pupil, Stephan, with a summary of the rules of calligraphy on the last pages of text. The letter samples are in Fraktur, and woodcuts are used for the pen preparation illustrations. Minor repair to folding plate, some minor staining, else fine in black morocco with a slipcase. Bookplate to front paste-down and small booklabel on rear paste-down. Item #25037
(Bonacini 1274; Graesse IV:660; Berlin Kat. 4787).